The Benefits of Outdoor Learning


“A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never return to its old dimensions.” –Olivier Wendell Holmes

Nuances in human learning styles are a well-known source of interest. A multitude of studies and research projects have revealed the science behind our thought and learning patterns, allowing us to identify the most effective ways to practice and retain knowledge. From visual to auditory, verbal to physical, and everything in between – different methods suit different minds, regardless of background or age.

But when it comes to lasting benefit, it’s the learning that happens outside of the traditional classroom setting that relentlessly proves its value. Whether it’s inspiring excitement, providing real-world context, or simply making the program ten times more rewarding and engaging, students reap the benefits of studying abroad for many years to come. come. And the rewards it offers teachers are often overlooked, allowing them to hone existing expertise through continuing professional development outside the classroom.

A Plymouth University report revealed the positive impact outdoor education can have on child development, calling for the concept to be formally embraced by policy makers and reflected in global agendas. The report also suggested a new Frame for 21st Student of the Century Results – a strategy that could be implemented by regular courses taking place in a more rugged natural landscape.

The results were grouped into five themes:

  • A healthy and happy body and mind
  • A sociable and confident person
  • An autonomous and creative learner
  • An effective contributor
  • An active global citizen

“We need to be a little clearer about what forms of outdoor learning meet the aims and objectives (of the programs),” Sue Waite, outdoor learning reader at the University of Plymouth, previously said. BBC News.

“So rather than just being outside to magically make things happen, activities such as residential outdoor experiences would be particularly effective in developing social skills and leadership,” she adds. “What we are advocating in the report is for people to think about the purpose and place (of the activity), as well as the people involved, in order to build different forms of outdoor learning that will meet certain (educational goals).

“This report maps the evidence to encourage researchers and policy makers to meet at the interface of research and policy…to shape a positive future for our children.”

The only one on campus Outdoor classroom at Bangkok Patana School gives students of all grades the invaluable chance to participate in true experiential learning in a natural setting. Here, young and enthusiastic minds explore and study the wonders of biodiversity – something that only a functioning ecosystem can authentically provide.

Gaining insight into and understanding of the wider world not only has academic implications, but also equips learners with the knowledge to make informed decisions about safeguarding their local and wider environment. Rather than using textbooks or search engines for research, Bangkok Patana high school biology students explored flora and fauna to find creatures they would like to study. The fresh air and hands-on learning methods deepen students’ understanding to a level unlikely to be facilitated in the classroom, allowing students to produce powerful research before creating biological illustrations of their respective creatures.

Ecosystems and nutrient cycling are key parts of science. For 5th graders, stepping outside among the trees to see their “rainforest” learning in action is key to cementing this science core component, immersing students in the fascinating world of plants and how they adapt. to the surrounding environment.

Alexander (Coke) Smith has been an environmental educator for 30 years. With teaching experience in Washington, California, China and now at the Bangkok Patana School in Thailand, Smith is one of the most respected outdoor educators on the circuit. He is also an avid wildlife photographer and a published writer in dozens of magazines and books around the world, including publications such as the BBC. Planet Earth Two and Scientific journalamong many others.

In Bangkok Patana School’s quest to provide the best learning facilities in Asia, the current outdoor classroom will expand to include a new building to be completed within the next 12 months. What makes this classroom so unusual is that it is designed by a group of 13th grade Environmental Systems and Societies students who apply their classroom knowledge to a very practical, very real project. Building on all that has been learned both in and outside the classroom, and showing its dedication to becoming conscious global citizens, the building will be made of 100% sustainable materials.

Outdoor learning is a unique experience with many benefits, from encouraging curiosity and a love of science to developing empathy for the environment and improving student achievement. class. As Bangkok Patana faculty explain: “We sincerely hope that the outdoor classroom will foster the development of students as passionate global citizens, concerned about the world and the environment around them and engaged in its protection.

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